At first, these extraordinary poems may unsettle and disturb, but the next reading could be one of rapture and astonishment; it all hinges on your point of view. Like the optical illusion of the maiden and the crone, you can only see one image at a time; the brain deciding which is the figure and which the background. It is a book that acts out its own subjects - dualities, ambiguities, boundaries - through physical dislocation, through patterns of interference.
This is a collage of many voices: eager or dispassionate, unreliable or matter-of-fact - depending, as with everything else, on your angle of entry. Some of the voices fear involvement; some are afraid of doing nothing; some, perhaps, have already gone too far. Like the image on the cover, these pieces shimmer and buzz in their own instability. Is this punishment or reward? What is the yellow smoke? Will there be bodies floating under the plastic pool-cover? Are we, like the hotel manager, seeing visions?
Volatile, troubling, but endlessly interesting, these poems show J. O. Morgan working and compressing language into a precarious, frictional state. As a result, Interference Pattern is a unique reading experience: vivid, challenging and completely original.
J.O. Morgan lives on a small farm in the Scottish Borders. He is the author of six collections of poetry, each a single book-length poem: Natural Mechanical (2009), which was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and won the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, its sequel, Long Cuts (2011), shortlisted for the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Award, At Maldon (2013), shortlisted for the Saltire Society Poetry Book of the Year Award, In Casting Off (2015), Interference Pattern (2016), shortlisted for the 2016 T.S. Eliot Prize and Assurances (2018), shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection and winner of the Costa Poetry Award 2018.